Home>Campaigns>Peterson, lagging well behind NJ-7 frontrunners, raises $29k in Q1

Assemblyman Erik Peterson. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Peterson, lagging well behind NJ-7 frontrunners, raises $29k in Q1

Assemblyman was outraised 30-1 by Kean

By Joey Fox, April 15 2022 11:34 am

Assemblyman Erik Peterson (R-Franklin)’s off-the-line campaign for the Republican nomination in the 7th district has gotten off to a rocky financial start, with the seven-term assemblyman raising just $28,907 in the first quarter of 2022.

That’s far behind the frontrunner in the Republican primary, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. (R-Westfield), who raised $840,000. Incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), meanwhile, raised $1.06 million.

Peterson used relatively little of his cash during the quarter, so he still has $23,113 left to spend. But without any demonstrated ability to self-fund, he would need a massive improvement in his fundraising ability to catch up with the race’s frontrunners before the June 7 primary.

Though Kean has been gunning for a rematch since July 2021 – the former State Senate leader previously lost to Malinowski by one percentage point in 2020 – Peterson didn’t join the race until January. In his campaign launch, Peterson promised to loyally vote for conservative policies, contrasting himself with the more moderate Kean.

Also running for the Republican nomination are businessman John Henry Isemann, 2021 gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo, and three other candidates. Kean has the Republican line in all six of the district’s counties; Peterson was the narrow runner-up at the convention in his home of Hunterdon County, and did not come especially close in any other county.

Despite his huge fundraising totals, Malinowski is considered more likely than not to lose re-election no matter who his opponent is. In their bid to make several other competitive districts more favorable to their party, Democratic mapmakers on the congressional redistricting commission shifted the 7th district six points to the right, complicating Malinowski’s political future in what is shaping up to be a favorable year for Republicans.

This story was updated at 5:16 p.m. with a correction: Peterson raised $28,907, not $28,476.

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